Why 2nd-worst Ebola outbreak is rising concern

DRC Ebola vaccine campaign

DRC Ebola vaccine campaign

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo "does not constitute a public health emergency of worldwide concern", according to a statement issued on Friday by the World Health Organization.

Steffen said they advised "redoubling efforts" to: detect Ebola cases as soon as possible, follow all contacts of those infected, and ensure vaccination of contacts.

As of Thursday, the World Health Organization has maintained its last assessment that the national and regional risk levels posed by the DRC Ebola outbreak remain very high, while global risk levels remain low. It emphasizes, in particular, that special efforts are needed to address the rise in case numbers in the remaining epicenters, notably Butembo, Katwa, Vuhovi, and Mandima in the DRC.

According to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ministry of Health (MOH), the most recent data shows the cumulative number of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases now stands at 1,220, of which 1,154 are confirmed and 66 are probable.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva on Friday that security concerns, including recent attacks on health facilities, has made it impossible to maintain a sustained response. We need to adapt our intervention to the needs and expectations of the population, to integrate Ebola activities in the local healthcare system, to engage effectively with the communities, and to further explore promising vaccinations to strengthen prevention.

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Rather, by definition under worldwide health regulations, the emergency declaration should be used to provide early warning of an imminent threat so countries can prepare, said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's director of health emergencies programs.

Doctors Without Borders is calling for patients to be treated in existing health centres rather than Ebola-specific clinics: "It's very clear that people do not like or trust the Ebola centres and they are not coming to be treated".

The Ebola outbreak in Congo announced on August 1 has become the second-deadliest in history, behind the West African one from 2014-16 that killed more than 11 300 people.

When health workers are unable to get to communities because of unrest, "no people are being vaccinated, there is no treatment (and) people are staying at home and infecting other people". "So, getting an Ebola patient to safe and effective treatment center is also very important", Ryan said.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus convened a meeting on Friday of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, which concluded that the disease does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). It warns it will not be able to end the epidemic if it does not have the money to implement essential programs.

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